Have Your Cake and COVID-19 Too

This is it. May 7th. A week before my 36th birthday and three-and-a-half years into experiencing the poorest excuse for a U.S. presidency imaginable. I made it this long, before I had to rant into the online void about it.

But this is not a political rant.

Everything urging my hands to type and stabbing at my brain during the between moments when I both cease to be present, and actively contemplate the larger forces that shape our present situation -- these have nothing to do with my political beliefs. Those beliefs are as uncontroversial as The Golden Rule, or how private money in politics corrupts any chance at a real reformist candidate from having their voice heard. The need for reinstating the equal-time policy for news coverage and to once and for all abolish the horse-race style election coverage that shoves pre-selected candidates down your throat and filters poll results to shape a predetermined narrative until even respectable, intelligent journalists are discussing the possible outcome of a snake eating its own tail.

This is not that.

I'm not writing because of Donal Trump. Rather, it is the state of this entire country. From politicians to media, unmasked and armed protesters, CEOs, and small business owners, I do not hear the singular, mature, rational message that keeps repeating in my head. And I need to hear it somewhere. I need to share this message and I HOPE that someone out there says, "Oh hey, totally."

The message is this:

We don't get to be in groups. We don't get to see our friends. We don't get to go to bars, beaches, or baseball games, because we haven't earned the privilege yet. 
It isn't a conspiracy, a political agenda, or a tyrannical state that requires a protest or rally to change. No set number of weeks, casualties, or votes need be tallied. It is NOT "time to get back to work", "open the country", or "let the cure be worse than the disease". What time is it? What time do we earn these freedoms we took for granted our collective, entire lives?

The same time it was two months ago:

Time to produce and distribute PPE to health care workers; time for massive, daily, and randomized virus and antigen testing; time for identifying positive cases, tracking, and quarantining to prevent the potential spread of this virus.

South Korea did that, and now they get to have baseball. Iceland did that, and now they get to go to bars. China did that, and now they get to drink shitty, overpriced Starbucks and take up three counter seats while charging their laptop and staring at their phone for hours.

I know it's easier to ignore the danger. It's alluring to "ease restrictions" and "move forward toward a new normal". I can even empathize with those who embrace the sexy, mysterious allure of being in THE ONLY GROUP WHO GETS IT - that this is some hoax, conspiracy, or fake news.
But I don't care.
You don't get to see the bodies and overflowing hospitals, or the insides of refrigerated trucks stacked with the lifeless corpses of once-proud Americans to convince your skeptical, little lizard-brain - because they're highly contagious and no place to be sticking a healthy journalist. Don't believe it? Need proof? Stop sharing posts about it by similarly lazy, unqualified idiots who aren't in the room, and ask a nurse or doctor or infectious disease expert. Actually listen to the ones being interviewed on tv and radio daily! None of them have anything to gain from lying. They don't live in mansions, belong to exclusive resorts, or enjoy traveling the country touring mask facilities without wearing masks as if the rules somehow shouldn't apply to them. They're your friends, neighbors, relatives, or college professors. It's not hard to confirm what's true and disprove what sounds too good to be.

If you want every sacrifice you've made thus far, every birthday missed, graduation unattended, and glass raised to a web-chatroom camera to actually mean anything: you should not dine in restaurants EVEN IF they reopen. You should not go to work at a meat-processing facility, standing shoulder to shoulder with your coworkers. You should not even risk going to the beach, until it really is TIME - until our country has done what it actually needs to in a pandemic.

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